February 6, 2006

Michigan landfills receive more waste from Canada but less from Toronto

Statistics released February 2 by Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) showed a slight increase in Canadian waste exports to Michigan in 2005. Canada sent nearly 11.9 million cubic yards of solid waste to Michigan landfills between October 2004 and September 2005, about 3% more than the previous year, according to figures presented in the tenth annual Report of Solid Waste Landfilled in Michigan.

State regulations require all landfill operations to file annual reports on the sources and quantities of solid waste received. In fiscal year (FY) 2005, Canada remained the leading source of wastes received by Michigan landfills from out-of-state, accounting for 18.6% of the total wastes (up from18.1% in FY 2004).

Imports from other states made up 10.3%, about the same as the previous year. The DEQ calculates that, taken as a whole, Michigan landfills have about 17 years of remaining disposal capacity

Toronto officials noted, however, that the city's portion of Canadian waste going to Michigan landfills went significantly down during the reporting period. New or enhanced waste diversion programs in 2005 helped Toronto drop its waste tonnage going over the border by 14%, the equivalent of 70 trucks per week.

In compiling its statistics, the DEQ included waste tonnage data from all Ontario sources, including industrial, commercial and institutional solid waste transported by private haulers. It is this waste that is responsible for the increase in Ontario shipments.

Municipalities, however, led by Toronto, reduced their portion of the Canadian waste shipped to Michigan during the reporting period. Toronto's proportion declined from one third to one quarter, and the city reports that it is currently sending less than 100 trucks of waste per day to Michigan, down from a peak of 142 trucks per day in 2003.

Toronto officials have been in regular communication with Michigan legislators to reconfirm the city's intention to continue decrease the number of trucks each year, ultimately eliminating waste shipments to Michigan by 2010. A comprehensive strategy to which the city is committed calls for diverting 60% of Toronto's solid waste from disposal by 2008 and 100% by 2012.

The DEQ report may be viewed on-line at www.michigan.gov/deq.

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